Kimchi fried rice? Huh? I’d never heard of such a thing, but it makes complete sense and it actually sound pretty damn good! I remember way back in the 1980s my father was always on the hunt for authentic Asian food and found a couple of places in Maryland outside of Washington DC. These were whole supermarkets dedicated to Asian food and in the Washington DC suburbs that was Korean. Here in Seattle it’s more Japanese and Chinese, but back there it was mostly Korean. I remember my father bringing home this jar of stinky, rotting cabbage soaked in hot sauce and daring us to eat it and I was always up for trying any new food once. Lo and behold, I really liked it! Every time I visited his house he always had a jar stinking up the fridge, but in a good way and we’d eat lots of it and we’d reek of garlic for hours!
As part of the new Fearless Flyer in March 2012, there was a new item I saw in the freezer section called Trader Joe’s Kimchi Fried Rice. I thought that Trader Joe’s had gone a little over the top with trying to make something up. But a little digging on the web and of course, Koreans eat Kimchi fried rice all over the place. Two of my favorite things combined into one dish and I had never thought about it!
This is a Product of Korea, so I’m thinking it’s probably pretty authentic and the flavors will be pretty good. The other Fried Rice dishes that Trader Joe’s carries have all been pretty good, but the Japanese Edamame vegan Fried Rice scored 9 bells from me. Trader Joe’s always seems to have about 4-5 different fried rice dishes in the freezer section these days and the new ones keep getting better and better.
This is a pretty big bag and you may not want to eat the whole thing in one sitting. I would think this would be a better side dish or as I saw on the web, you might put an egg on top or maybe throw some shrimp or chicken in there for some protein. The preparation on this is a little different than the other bags of fried rice. For this one you just poke a hole in the side of the bag and throw it in the microwave for a couple of minutes. There are optional stove top directions if you want.
It was a little tricky handling the hot steaming bag of rice and cutting it open and pouring it into a bowl, but I was able to do that without burning myself.. Maybe I’ll do the stove top method next time! It smells wonderful of hot chilis, garlic and kimchi. After I let it cool down I took a bite and the fried rice was infused with the kimchi flavors and then you get hit with the heat! I forgot how hot Kimchi can be sometimes and Trader Joe’s was not holding back any punches on this one. Bring a glass of water when you eat this. Once my mouth got used to the heat and flavors, I really enjoyed it. You can see big chunks of cabbage in there and tiny specks of hot peppers and garlic throughout the fried rice. Trader Joe’s did a pretty good job on this one!
I am going to rate this Trader Joe’s Kimchi Fried Rice 8 Bells!